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Masculinity and perceived normative health behaviors as predictors of men's health behaviors


  • Mahalik, James R.
  • Burns, Shaun M.
  • Syzdek, Matthew


This study examined the unique contributions of masculinity and men's perceptions of the normativeness of men's and women's health behaviors in predicting men's self-reported health behaviors. One hundred and forty men aged 18-78 were recruited from 27 unmoderated and moderated Internet listservs of potential interest to men. They completed measures on-line assessing masculinity, their perceptions of normative health behaviors for men and women, and 8 health behaviors (i.e., alcohol abuse, seatbelt use, tobacco use, physical fighting, use of social support, exercise, dietary habits, and receipt of annual medical check-ups). Findings suggest that masculinity and the perceived normativeness of other men's health behaviors significantly predicted participants' own health behaviors beyond that accounted for by socio-demographic variables (e.g., education, income). Perceptions of the normativeness of women's health behaviors were unrelated to participants' health behaviors. The findings support previous research which has found that traditional masculine gender socialization and social norms models encourage men to put their health at risk, and suggest directions for health promotion efforts when working with men.

Suggested Citation

  • Mahalik, James R. & Burns, Shaun M. & Syzdek, Matthew, 2007. "Masculinity and perceived normative health behaviors as predictors of men's health behaviors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 64(11), pages 2201-2209, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:64:y:2007:i:11:p:2201-2209

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    Cited by:

    1. Caroli, Eve & Weber-Baghdiguian, Lexane, 2016. "Self-reported health and gender: The role of social norms," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 220-229.
    2. Mahalik, James R. & Lombardi, Caitlin McPherran & Sims, Jacqueline & Coley, Rebekah Levine & Lynch, Alicia Doyle, 2015. "Gender, male-typicality, and social norms predicting adolescent alcohol intoxication and marijuana use," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 71-80.
    3. Galdas, Paul M. & Johnson, Joy L. & Percy, Myra E. & Ratner, Pamela A., 2010. "Help seeking for cardiac symptoms: Beyond the masculine-feminine binary," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 18-24, July.
    4. Frank, Sarah M. & Durden, T. Elizabeth, 2017. "Two approaches, one problem: Cultural constructions of type II diabetes in an indigenous community in Yucatán, Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 64-71.
    5. Backhans, Mona Christina & Burström, Bo & Lindholm, Lars & Månsdotter, Anna, 2009. "Pioneers and laggards - Is the effect of gender equality on health dependent on context?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 68(8), pages 1388-1395, April.
    6. Emmanuel O. Acquah & Jennifer K. Lloyd & Laura Davis & Michael L. Wilson, 2014. "Adolescent Physical Fighting in Ghana, Their Demographic and Social Characteristics," Social Sciences, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(2), pages 1-15, May.


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